Norfolk

Church reviews sex abuse priest Anthony McSweeney's move to Norwich

Anthony McSweeney Image copyright PA
Image caption Anthony McSweeney was found guilty of sexually abusing a teenager between 1979 and 1981

The Catholic Church is reviewing how it dealt with the transfer of a priest who was found to have indecent videos of teenage boys.

Anthony McSweeney, 68, was last month jailed after he was found guilty of indecent assault between 1979 and 1981.

In 1998, he was found to have pornographic videos while at St Peter's Catholic Church in Essex.

Bishop of East Anglia Alan Hopes is reviewing how McSweeney was allowed to move to St George's, Norwich.

Southwark Crown Court heard how McSweeney and his friend John Stingemore, who died before the trial, assaulted a 15-year-old boy.

McSweeney was also found guilty of making indecent images of children.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Care home manager John Stingemore was found dead at his home in January

The court had heard how a cleaner at St Peter's Catholic Church found sex toys, truncheons and indecent videos in McSweeney's possession.

He was threatened with being "banished" from the priesthood, the court heard, but moved to a new parish six months later.

Bishop Hopes said "questions have been raised" about how the Catholic Church dealt with McSweeney after the items were found.

"This incident was, at the time, referred to the police who decided not to investigate," he said.

"It was, therefore, regarded by the Church as a matter of clergy discipline and dealt with accordingly.

"At that time no allegations of child abuse had been made against Father McSweeney, and no concerns had been raised in that regard."

He said the matter was now being reviewed.

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